Book Review: When I am Happiest

When I am Happiest – Rose Lagercrantz
(Published by Gecko Press, July 2015)

When I am Happiest

When I am Happiest is a beautiful tale of joy, sadness and friendship; it deals with a difficult subject in a graceful and accessible way, making it a pleasure to read. To be honest, I wasn’t sure whether Tiny would like it, but we sat down to read a couple of chapters together, and suddenly, we’d finished the whole book. He didn’t want me to stop, and I didn’t want to stop either.

The chapters are short, the sentences snappy. The pace is fast and it is interesting to read. I loved that it was a simple tale, yet Lagercrantz wasn’t afraid to challenge young readers by throwing in a few more interesting words and ideas. I liked that the characters didn’t just “ask”, but asked “questioningly”; this appealed to my love of words and my desire to encourage my boys to be voracious readers.

Each chapter is accompanied by Eva Eriksson’s simple line drawings. The illustrations are perfect, and convey so much emotion. At moments where children might not understand the seriousness of the story, the illustrations help them to understand what it going on.

When we’d finished reading When I am Happiest, Tiny and I talked about the story, and how it made us feel. I was surprised at how perceptive and articulate he was as he explained how he felt, and surprised at how emotional I felt too.

This is a beautiful book, aimed at five- to seven-year-olds, although I think it would appeal to older children (and adults) too.

Thank you to Gecko Press for providing this beauty for review purposes.